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Mon 25th Jun 2018

Monterosso Triumph in The Warwickshire Cup

Cirencester Welcomes Thousands

As the sun bathed Gloucestershire in glorious sunshine yesterday, Cirencester Park Polo Club welcomed thousands of spectators for the Cotswold International Polo Day. The day began with the Final of The 6 goal Meadow Cup, in which Noon Giraffe defeated Coxwell 6-5. Following a break for lunch and a wander around the bustling trade village, the Warwickshire Cup Final got underway. With El Remanso having lost to Les Lions in the Semi Final, it was a Monterosso versus Les Lions Final in front of the excited, and slightly sunburnt, crowd. 

The match began with high energy as Monterosso came flying out of the first throw-in to score what must have been a record-breaking goal, in under 15 seconds, as Juan Martín Zubía raced up the field. Les Lions’ Guillermo Terrera followed suit at the next throw-in, securing Les Lions’ first goal. The chukka continued in this vivacious fashion, with both teams expertly manoeuvring around each other to secure possession. As the bell sounded, Les Lions led the field 3-2 at the end of the first chukka and despite a quick fire goal by Terrera at the beginning of the second chukka, Monterosso had not lost any of their earlier might, as Santiago and Ignacio Toccalino, who always seem to telepathically know where each other are, secured two goals to bring the scoreboard to an even keel once more. Patron Alessandro Bazzoni, having found his groove, made the score 5-4 as the bell sounded for the end of the chukka. Going into the third, Monterosso were now truly in the driving seat. The Toccalino brothers dominated the play, outsmarting and outrunning Les Lions’ Joaquin Pittaluga, who wasn’t giving up lightly. Santiago took advantage of a penalty to boost the score to 6-4, swiftly followed by a perfect goal from Zubía, who expertly dribbled the ball through the Les Lions players, stopping and starting with ease on the Polo Times Best Playing Pony Hamiga. As the teams rode off for the half-time break, Monterosso led the field 7-4, with the Les Lions guys royally shaken. 
The fourth chukka began in the same ilk as the third chukka had ended. Santiago raced straight to goal from the first throw-in, but with the ball going wide, it looked like Les Lions might have a chance. Unfortunately, with a penalty awarded to Monterosso and converted with a high shot through the posts by Ignacio and a field goal fired by Santiago, Monterosso extended their lead to 9-4. Pittaluga provided some respite for Les Lions, converting the next penalty to bring the score to 9-5, but as the teams began the fifth chukka, the pace quickened even further. Jaime Huidobro began the return fire from Les Lions, racing up and down the field, but the expert pairing of the Toccalino brothers, with Zubía in support was unsurmountable. Bazzoni finally ended the fraught play with a beautifully executed cut neck shot in front of goal, which sailed through the posts, earning him The Polo Magazine Most Valuable Player Award. The sixth and final chukka was by far Les Lions’ crowning moment, as Pittaluga secured two goals, to bring them within reach of turning the tables, but with multiple mishits as the pressure mounted, and the Monterosso horsepower noticeably stronger, Les Lions couldn’t narrow the gap as Monterosso won the trophy 10-7. 
The Warwickshire Cup Final Teams:
Monterosso (22): Alessandro Bazzoni (0), Juan Martín Zubía (6), Ignacio Toccalino (8) & Santiago Toccalino (8)
Les Lions (22): Guillermo Terrera (8), Jaime Huidobro (7), Joaquin Pittaluga (7) & Max Gottschalk (0)
 
Photograph: Monterosso defeated Les Lions to win The Warwickshire Cup Final at Cirencester Park Polo Club. By Ben Hastie Photography

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